One out of every four new enterprises has obtained benefits from the CPTPP

VCN- The Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has been in effect for more than two years, but according to a VCCI report, what has been achieved is significantly lower than expected and the cause is not only from objective incidents but also subjective issues of the State and firms.
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Workshop "2 years implementing CPTPP in Vietnam: Evaluation from enterprises' perspective". Photo: H.Diu

On April 7, in Hanoi, Aus4Reform Program - the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) held a workshop to announce the report "2 years implementing CPTPP in Vietnam: Evaluation from enterprises' perspective” based on the results of enterprises' surveys on reality, evaluation and feeling about two years of implementation of the CPTPP.

Speaking at the workshop, Vu Tien Loc, Chairman of VCCI said that in 2020, in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam's exports to markets that have been approved by the CPTPP will only reach a turnover of approximately 2019. However, the signal is positive. The rate of taking advantage of the CPTPP tariff preferences in this second year has improved.

However, according to Loc, the realisation of opportunities from the CPTPP is still limited by businesses due to the inferiority of competitiveness and volatility of the market. In particular, another reason comes from the perspective of State agencies, such as lack of information about commitments, delays, problems and lack of flexibility and other limitations in implementing the CPTPP and other free trade agreements (FTAs) of State agencies.

According to a report from VCCI, on the level of knowledge of enterprises about the CPTPP, 69% of enterprises heard or had preliminary knowledge about this agreement, higher than all of other FTAs, 25% of enterprises had certain knowledge about this agreement.

However, only one out of 20 enterprises knows about the CPTPP commitments related to their business activities. This shows that the joint propaganda and dissemination efforts on CPTPP have had a positive initial effect, but mainly on the surface.

Regarding the specific impacts of the CPTPP, only one out of four enterprises has experienced the significant advantages from this agreement. The most common interest group for these enterprises is still tariffs, especially in new markets like Canada and Mexico.

According to Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Director of the Center for WTO and Integration (VCCI), with 3/4 of enterprises that have never benefited from the CPTPP, the main reason (60%) is they don't have any business activities related to the market or partner in the CPTPP area in the past two years.

From the perspective of institutional improvement, to implement the CPTPP, Decision 121/QD-TTg promulgating the Government's CPTPP Implementation Plan has listed a list of documents that need to be developed, modified, supplemented, and time limits. But in terms of progress, most of the CPTPP implementation documents are issued later than their commitments (from half a month to 20 months).

From the above results, Loc said that programmes and activities to support businesses need to focus on substantive activities to improve product competitiveness and to systematically promote national trade, designed according to individual target groups, with special priorities for small and micro businesses.

In addition, according to Nguyen Cam Trang, Deputy Director of the Import and Export Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade), joining the CPTPP, in addition to helping firms increase exports, it is also the driving force to improve the business environment, creating pressure on competition forces businesses to improve their commodity standards and capabilities.

The VCCI report also acknowledged that businesses need to associate and cooperate to be strong, directly or indirectly benefiting from this process. With the Government, the work of reviewing compatibility and preparing for the development of legal regulations in accordance with the institutional commitments in the CPTPP should be done more cautiously, with an interdisciplinary vision.

By Huong Diu/Dieu Huong

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